Category Archives: Brunswick County churches

BRIEF: Local radio station to host pro-marriage amendment speakers Friday

Supporters of the proposed North Carolina constitutional marriage amendment will speak out on a local morning radio talk show on Friday. The amendment is up for a vote on May 8.

Vote for Marriage NC, a Raleigh-based group promoting the amendment, sent emails to its supporters Thursday with talking points encouraging area residents to call in to Wilmington’s The Big Talker FM with Chad Adams radio program Friday morning. The conservative show at 93.7 FM is featuring arguments about the amendment 6-10 a.m. Friday morning.

Details: 910-332-6390 or 1-800-760-8190.

– Amanda Greene

A prison chapel that started with a plow – Pender Correctional breaks ground on its new chapel

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Since the future prison chapel at Pender Correctional Institution in Burgaw began as a community effort, with more than 100 local churches and individuals giving money, its groundbreaking today (March 14) was no different.

“At most groundbreakings, you see folks with their shiny silver or gold shovels turning a little bit of dirt,” said the prison’s contract Chaplain Jimmy Joseph. “But we have a lot of dirt to move today so you all get to be the mules.”

In the prison yard, about 30 corrections officials, leaders with N.C. Baptist Men, the Burgaw mayor and community members grabbed a long thick rope attached to an old farm plow with Joseph at the helm.

“And pull,” the chaplain shouted. Tug-of-war-style, attendees in coats, ties and skirts leaned back on their rope section, pulling that plow and breaking ground on the 4,200 square foot facility. The community has been planning and fundraising for this day for the last six years.

In his speech chronicling the long road to building the chapel, retired Chaplain James Spiritosanto said: “It took King Solomon 46 years to build the Temple, and I’m happy to report, we are ahead of schedule.”

The need for a chapel became apparent to the prison’s chaplains over years of trying to schedule the hundreds of inmates who wanted to participate in the prison’s faith curriculum into a classroom that will only fit 30 at a time.

The new building’s auditorium will seat 200. There are 768 inmates in the prison, Joseph said.

The chapel will also have two classrooms, offices for the chaplaincy staff, restrooms and storage space. A large stained glass window in the gable of the auditorium will capture eastern light in the mornings. The building will be a wood-framed structure with brick veneer to match the other buildings in the prison.

With the help of volunteer labor from N.C. Baptist Men, Joseph hopes to be cutting a grand opening ribbon on the chapel in six months. Pender’s chapel project is the first construction task inside a prison for the N.C. Baptist Men.

“We found it to be a worthy project. How could we say no?” said Gaylon Moss, coordinator of disaster relief and volunteerism for the group.

This project was also a first for the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Usually, the prison system takes bids from licensed contractors to complete prison building projects. But the majority of labor on this project will be volunteers, along with area contractors who are overseeing the construction.

His voice shaking with emotion, the project’s contractor Billy Soots told attendees, “I hope this project is a light to this community, to this campus and enriches the kingdom of God.”

Pender prison to break ground on its chapel Wednesday

Wilmington Faith and Values

It’s been six years of fundraising with donations coming from 74 area churches and 88 people in Southeastern North Carolina. But this week Pender Correctional Institution in Burgaw will break ground on its freestanding chapel.

PCI will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the 4,200 square foot facility at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Only invited guests can attend.

With labor donated from N.C. Baptist Men, the Pender County prison hopes to complete its new chapel in six months.

For many years, the space used as the chapel in the prison was a 20 foot by 24 foot classroom space, the walls lined with bookshelves full of holy texts and reference material for different faiths.

In the North Carolina prison system, privately-funded chapels are fairly rare. According to N.C. prison system records, as of 2010, out of the state’s 70 prisons with chapels, only nine were built with private money.

The new building’s auditorium will seat 200, where the former room seated 30. There are 768 inmates in the prison, said Pender Correctional Chaplain Jimmy Joseph.

The chapel will also have two classrooms, offices for the chaplaincy staff, restrooms and storage space. A large stained glass window in the gable of the auditorium will capture eastern light in the mornings, “creating a worshipful atmosphere in the building,” Joseph wrote in an email. The building will be a wood framed structure with brick veneer to match the other buildings in the prison.

Stay tuned for more on this story. Wilmington Faith and Values reporters will attend the ceremony on Wednesday.

Brunswick officials back marriage amendment

Copyright 2012 StarNewsOnline
Reprinted with permission

The Brunswick County Commissioners backed a resolution Monday to support a proposed North Carolina constitutional amendment stating that marriage is between a man and woman.

The proposed amendment that states “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state,” will go before voters on the May 8 primary ballot.

If it is approved, the state would become the last state in the Southeast to add a constitutional amendment defining marriage. Same-sex marriage is already outlawed by the state.

County commissioners said early last week the resolution was a way of backing the amendment because it was a step in the right direction.

The resolution passed 4-1 on Monday as part of the commissioners’ consent agenda.

Commissioner Charles Warren was the lone dissenter against the consent agenda, which contained several measures besides the amendment resolution. Warren did not say why he voted against the group of items.

Those who spoke in opposition of the resolution at Monday’s meeting said pushing the issue further could have potential implications on gay rights.

T.R. Nunley, a representative of the Wilmington Pride group, asked commissioners to consider the possible infringements on same-sex partners’ rights.

“It’s not just a marriage issue. It can open a whole can of worms,” Nunley said.

Brunswick County resident Melinda Irvin, who identified herself as a lesbian, asked commissioners to consider children with parents in same-sex relationships.

“You are not only affecting the older people here, but the younger generation,” she said.

The resolution was brought to the board by Commissioner Marty Cooke, who said a constituent brought the issue to his attention.

Same-sex marriage has moved front and center in the national spotlight in recent months, as the election season heats up and as opponents of same-sex marriage continue their push to get a California law banning it reinstalled.

In February, California’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 against Proposition 8, a same-sex marriage ban passed by voters there in 2008. The ruling found that the ban was a violation of gay and lesbian rights.

But those in favor of the ban have asked the appeals court to reconsider, and if unsuccessful, could try to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

Jason Gonzales: 343-2075

On Twitter: @StarNews_Jason

Writer reacts to Brunswick County Commissioners marriage amendment resolution

Editor’s Note: The Brunswick County Commissioners are considering a resolution in favor of the proposed amendment to North Carolina’s state constitution about marriage between a man and woman. Their meeting is tonight, March 5.

Bo Dean

By Contributor Bo Dean

What is most stunning for a person of faith about the Brunswick County Commissioners voting on a resolution about the proposed marriage amendment being put to the people on May 8 for a vote, is they are potentially placing the issue on the consent agenda.

For those of you who do not know what that is, a consent agenda is a working body that is basically decided on before the meeting takes place.

While individual board members can pull an item, most often, it is agreed upon at an agenda briefing that these issues have been vetted.

These commissioners are voting on the civil rights of citizens, and here they are even thinking this is a matter not in need of public discussion.

It is, potentially, a done deal. The lives of those they serve have no meaning in such a proposal.

It is extremism. It is an arrogance with a force of will that finds no foundation in the teachings of a loving Christ or a Christ-centered community.

Yet, this resolution exists as a potential for happening and most grotesquely, its justification comes from erroneous understandings. It is the blurring of the lines between what we do as people of faith and what we do in our secular commitments and the imposition of our beliefs on others.

Ironically,we fight this same imposition so strongly with extremists here and abroad. This resolution disposes of care for difference, for understanding and for sharing our world. And most vile of all, it is done in the name of God. Shame.

Second leg of N.C. NAACP Truth and Hope Tour of Poverty coming to Wilmington and Brunswick County this weekend

Wilmington Faith and Values

The state’s NAACP is continuing its bus tour across the state this weekend in the Wilmington area.

The Truth and Hope Tour, Putting a Face on Poverty in Southeastern North Carolina has been touring the state in the past month pointing out housing inequities and extreme poverty.

North Carolina NAACP president the Rev. William Barber, II will speak at 9 a.m. Saturday (March 3) at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 3701 Princess Place Drive in Wilmington.

Then his tour continues into Brunswick County with a stop at about 11 a.m. in Navassa and on to Supply at noon to the Royal Oak Community.

For site directions, call 631-806-9677.

Large Wilmington home repair ministry needs financial assistance

Chicago teen volunteers take a water break at a house in downtown Wilmington at last year's Reach the Beach. Photo courtesy Cape Fear Volunteer Center.

Wilmington Faith and Values

Photos of last year’s Reach the Beach in Wilmington show high school students from across the country painting houses, wielding saws, building wheelchair ramps and hugging elderly homeowners who asked for their help.

Cape Fear Volunteer Center organizes the Christian week-long event where about 550 teens come to the Wilmington area to repair homes for the poor in our area for free. This year’s event, set for July, hopes to renovate 70-80 homes. The deadline for low income residents to apply to be one of those houses is March 1.

But Center president Annie Anthony says the fundraising and grant–writing for the $20,000 to fund this year’s Reach the Beach has barely trickled in. People and churches just aren’t giving to the event as they have in past years, she said. China Grove, N.C., hosts the only other GroupCares home repair camp in the state, and Wilmington’s camp has grown to one of the largest in the nation, Anthony said.

“2010, not all the money came in, so we just did fewer and less expensive projects. But this year, with the economic downturn, it has been much, much harder,” she said. “I don’t know how God’s gonna come through, but I know he will.”

The students will still come with their chaperones, but in order to allow

Reach the Beach volunteers pose with one of the residents they helped last year. Photo courtesy CFVC.

them to do the most work, Anthony’s organization has to raise the money for the raw materials.

To get the students here, the center partners with GroupCares, the nonprofit arm of the national Christian publishing house, Group Publishing. They help publicize the home repair mission trip, Anthony said. Group Publishing prints Sunday school, vacation Bible school, youth ministry and youth conference materials.

One Reach the Beach group carries lumber to a repair site last year. Photo courtesy of CFVC.

The week of July 22-28 this year, teens will come to Wilmington in buses, on planes, in cars and carrying every manner of home repair accessory. Last year, a large bus of Chicago high school students came for the week. They stay at Ashley High School, the boys on one floor and the girls on another.

Cape Fear Volunteer Center estimates the group of students and adults bring in about $500,000 to the area while they’re here because of tourism, the increased value to homes after the repairs and the value of volunteer hours.

Anthony also said there are free ways to contribute to Reach the Beach, including volunteering and donating construction tools and ladders.

Reach the Beach students this year also will arrive with loads of canned goods, which they collect to donate to local charity, House of Mercy Ministries.

“It’s amazing. They pile the food at the foot of a cross and build a human chain and pass it down to load into the ministry’s vans,” Anthony added.

Details: or 910-392-8180.

Start of Lent is next week! Send your Ash Wednesday services to WilmingtonFAVS

Feb. 22, next Wednesday, is Ash Wednesday.

English: Ashes imposed on the forehead of a Ch...

Ashes imposed on a woman's forehead for Ash Wednesday. Image via Wikipedia

It’s the beginning of the hallowed introspective season of Lent for Christians.

If your church is having a special event that day or has creative services planned throughout Lent, we’d like to know about it.

Just email your Ash Wednesday and Lenten services to

We’ll keep a running file for people looking for a place to worship during Lent.

– Amanda Greene

Sex is awesome, speaker says. Just wait to do it until you’re married.

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Wilmington Faith and Values

Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like a talk about God and sexually transmitted diseases.

But more than 1,600 teens and their parents from Brunswick, Pender and New Hanover counties traveled to the Wilmington Convention Center on Sunday night (Feb. 12) to learn about the dangers of sex outside of marriage.

The Christian teen rally, Sex Gone Wild: Passion for Purity In a World Out of Control, brought church vans full of teens from Riegelwood, Southport, Hampstead and all over the Wilmington area.  Christian rock bands warmed up the crowd before national Christian speaker and abstinence advocate Pam Stenzel took the stage.

Stenzel, who travels the nation speaking to middle- and high school students, spoke to her Sunday night crowd a little differently than she does in schools.

“I’m going to say something right now that I can’t say in middle schools,” she said, with a chuckle. “Students, God created sex, and it’s awesome! But he created it with a boundary: marriage.”

Stenzel talked about the physical effects of having STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or genital warts.

The students listened, intently, clapping in support when Stenzel confessed that she was a child of rape. Her mother was 15 years old when she decided to put Stenzel up for adoption, she said.

Some students talked amongst themselves about what they were learning. As Stenzel spoke about women becoming sterile after having multiple STDs, one female teen leaned over to her friends to ask: “Cervix? What’s a cervix?”

A male friend nearby answered: “It’s in your stomach area, I think.”

How does your congregation share its space with the community?

By Contributor Elizabeth Terry

Due to shrinking congregation size and other pressing issues, places of worship around the country currently have underutilized buildings and grounds and diminishing financial resources. One emerging strategy is to encourage congregations to explore sharing their facilities.

Two institutions with missions and resources to assist congregations to re-imagine their facilities as vibrant shared spaces are Partners for Sacred Places with their new initiative Arts in Sacred Places and The Rooftops Project of New York Law School.

The Rooftops Project has published several reports and essays concerning leases and shared space agreements. They also convene an annual conference for nonprofits, including congregations, helping them to become more knowledgeable about their options and opportunities for sharing their space with other nonprofits.

Inis Nua Theatre Company's production of Dublin by Lamplight, staged at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, PA. Photo courtesy of Sacred Places.

Partners for Sacred Places’ new national initiative, Arts in Sacred Places, will foster collaborations and partnerships between congregations and arts and cultural organizations. The program is focused on space availability and usability as well as audiences for the arts organizations and community supporters and new potential members for the sacred places. Programs and services will include training, consulting, technical assistance, and “match-making” or helping match a congregation with an arts group that’s right for their space.  Click here for stories of the program’s success so far.

How is your congregation sharing your sacred place of worship with your community?